The costs of DUI

Monday, December 31st 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Tulsa Police officers will be looking for people who hit the party circuit, then drive home drunk. That means officers will be on duty whose only job is to arrest drunk drivers. News on Six crime reporter Lori Fullbright explains what they expect to find.

Nothing takes away the fun of ringing in a New Year faster than getting arrested for drunk driving and spending six hours behind bars. Police say all drunk drivers have one thing in common; they overestimate their ability to drive. Tulsa Police Sgt Mike Garner, "The first thing affected is the judgment part of the brain. They think they can drink a few then cut off or wait a couple of hours, but, it affects your judgment and your motor skills."

Officers say 30 years ago, every drunk driver was a man, now they're equally men and women. Part of the problem is the way people approach the designated driver idea. "After a party, they pick the soberest driver and then we pull them over and they get mad. They think the designated driver should have immunity. They don't. The idea of a designated driver is to have no drink at all, in order to be safe."

Tulsa officers arrest an average of 235 drivers every month for being drunk, 40 of those arrests happen on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. Even people who don't drink and drive are still at risk. "The number one defense, the best thing you can do to protect yourself against a drunk driver or just a bad driver is to wear your seatbelt." If you do party hard, police suggest you save yourself a lot of heartache and expense by calling a cab, or AAA or Storey Wrecker for a safe way home.

Even a first time DUI that doesn't involve an accident can cost you big money. Officers will tow your car, which costs around $80. Getting your suspended driver's license back will cost $300. First time offenders can get out of jail on a bond of around $500. For a basic defense, a lawyer will charge you $350. Your fine and court costs will be around $810 and your insurance premium will likely increase $1,400, for a total of $3,440.